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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

SELF-HAPPINESS AND ITS BEARING ON HUMAN LIFE

Date:

An opinion by Jacob N.B. Parley

When it comes to how someone can become a happy person in life, there are several schools of thought that I have heard about.

  1. One of these schools of thought is that happiness depends on an individual’s wealth,
  2. The other one is that happiness comes about by an individual looking at others and trying, at all cost, to be like them. That is, looking at others and inordinately trying to be like them (money, property, lucrative jobs), etc.
  3. The third and final school of thought is that happiness can be generated from within.

In this case, those who believe in the third school of thought are of the strong conviction that happiness in life entails the willingness and determination of an individual to accept what he has until such a time when it becomes necessary and appropriate to go to the next stage of improvement through one’s own hard labor, driven by patience and honesty.

Well, I am not in the position to condemn the other schools of thought that I do not personally support.

I respect the opinion of others who may not see things the way I see them as an individual.

It is on the basis of respecting other people’s opinion that I have chosen not to take up a political sledge hammer against others who may look at the argument from a different perspective.

However, of the three schools of thought mentioned in the introductory part of this article, the one I strongly believe in and support is the third one which states that happiness in life can be generated from within by an individual trying to accept what he has until he can get what he needs tomorrow- through his own sweat or honest labor.

In 2006, while undergoing a seminar on TV Management and News Gathering and Editing, organized by the Communications University of China, Beijing, a colleague of mine from another African country borrowed me a book, initially for a day to read.

I told him that I would return his book the next day. However after reading several pages, I realized that the book was very interesting to be left half way, because the entire story I developed interest in had not been exhausted. Therefore, the following day during training session, I politely walked to him before the arrival of our facilitators to greet him and to further ask that I be given at least four additional days to complete the book.

“Alright Jacob, what is so interesting in this book for which you are appealing to me like this, when the first two persons (participants) who asked for the book returned it the same day,” he asked.

“I don’t have problem with that, you can go ahead and read it, anytime you are through you can return it to me,” he said, as the two of us shared a handshake. One of the things I grasped while reading the book is that an individual can be happy if he wishes to be or be unhappy based on how he sees things, responds to them and the kind of decisions made during critical times.

I am sorry that the note pad in which I wrote the title of this particular book got damaged some time ago in Liberia,  while trying to move from one area of residence to the other, and so I can‘t actually remember the name of the author, neither the very book.

However, one constructive advice proffered by the author of the book is that keeping one’s eyes off other people plays a key role in making someone happy in life.

Yes, I agree with the author’s opinion. But let me make it clear that it is not wrong to positively strive to do something that others may be doing. But what I think is wrong is to want to be like that person at all cost without taking certain factors into consideration.

For instance, if your neighbor is changing his car every one year and you also want to do the same thing at all cost without careful analysis or reflection on certain factors, like source(s) of income, then I think something is  wrong somewhere. It is very important for people to learn to be themselves rather than try to be like others.

For instance, in an article I published several years ago about the various societies we live in nowadays, human life will not always be equal, no matter what happens.

No matter how you are educated, how known you are, how good you are to people, life will not always be even because life in itself is a journey of uncertainties, surprises and challenges.

  1. For instance, have not you seen that a person who is unable to write one complete sentence in line with standards makes more money out of his grammatically error-ridden stories than those who write well or put in ample time to do their work? I am talking about those of us who call ourselves journalists.
  2. Have you not seen that some of the great opportunities in life are likely to avail themselves to some people who lack focus in life, especially when those who keep demonstrating to be  up to the task or serious keep wandering in the political wilderness?

Please, I am not suggesting that it is good for these things to happen. But the picture I am frankly trying to draw shows that no matter what happens, we are still living in an uneven world, not by Almighty God’s command, but at the dictate of humankind, especially evil minded elements in some of our institutions, no matter which part of the globe one finds himself.

I must admit that at certain point in my life, I almost found myself in this kind of situation, thinking that the way to pursue happiness was to look at some of my friends who and I graduated from several schools together, by reflecting on how far they were moving with high speed in many aspects, including jobs, scholarships and other opportunities. At one point I was saying to myself, “But I was making better grades in school than some of these people who are playing with money and boasting about some of the pleasant things life offers.”

But I got to realize that these things will always happen in life, because we find ourselves in a world of surprises and increasing uncertainties.

I thank God that, by His grace, I was able to overcome this emotional conflict of initially looking at some people in society and wanting to adopt their life styles.

One of the things God did for me before overcoming the situation was to constantly read the Holy Bible, listen to some great preachers, both in and out of Liberia,   read   other books written by great men and women of knowledge and listening to the stories and testimonies of others.

In 2009, the New Life Victory Church School in the Samuel Kanyan Doe Community, Bushrod Island, invited me to serve as guest speaker during one of its closing programs.  Most of the attendants were women.

My topic to the graduates was “Only You Can Make Yourself Happy.” As I continued with my speech, the parents and guardians did not seize applauding me, considering the real- life situation contained in my speech. At one point, some of the women even went to the point of weeping, when I asked: “What an uneven world we live in today when some of our good and serviceable sisters and mothers cannot find the appropriate husbands who will cherish them instead of increasing their frustration.”

One of my former teachers once told me that it is always important for an individual to accept what he has until he can get what he needs.

Yes, in school it is not wrong for anyone to say he also wants to make a GPA of 3.00 or 4.00 once his friends are making such rewarding academic marks. This is the issue of constructive competition. But again, there are other factors we have to look at. For instance, as an individual, do you have ample time to study your lesson? If you can make it, I say go ahead, but if you cannot make it, try to make your little ‘B’ and strive not to fall below ‘C’ in any of the courses.

Today, sermons from religious leaders as well as confessions from other people in our various communities and places of work indicate that not everyone who changes shinning and expensive cars in every six months is obtaining these luxuries through honesty.

The fact that you and somebody are working at the same entity, or having the same qualification does not mean that the two of you have the same blessing from God or have equal opportunities in life. Therefore, wanting to be like that person at all cost may make you unhappy throughout your life if you continue to unreasonably compare yourself with that person.

It is always important to think in a wise way, because you may not know whether such person has other sources of income besides his small monthly salary you may know about.

It is becoming glaring in life that some people, for the sake of wealth, or material possession involve themselves in a lot of negative things.

Some people do these things at the expense of their own reputation. It appears that they are only looking at today, not tomorrow.

They don’t care whether others are crying in their name because of the harm such ugly practices bear on others in society.

I therefore want to reinforce the author’s argument to the effect that one positive way for an individual to be happy in life is self-discipline in the context of keeping his eyes off other people. In this case, it is very important for people to accept what they have until they can get what they need tomorrow.

A hint to the wise is quite sufficient!

 

Author’s contacts:

+231777604576/886560455

WhatsApp: +231881336137

 jacobtheancestor@yahoo.com/jacobnbparley1@gmail.com

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Smart News Liberia is an online news outlet and a product of Smart Media Group Inc. Our website, smartnewsliberia.com, covers a broad spectrum of news content. For inquiries or information, you can reach us at 0777425285 or 0886946925, or email us at smartnewsliberia@gmail.com or info@smartnewsliberia.com.

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